Ebola: Nigerian doctors suspend strike


EbolaNigerian public sector doctors on Thursday suspended a nearly five-week long strike over an Ebola outbreak which has killed two people and infected five others in Lagos.

A statement from the National Medical Association union listed “the incursion of Ebola into Nigeria” as a main reason for suspending the strike.

The NMA had late Wednesday evening called for an emergency meeting to deliberate on the possibility of calling off the strike so as to allow medical doctors return to their duty post to give a helping hand in the fight to prevent further cases of Ebola.

The emergence of Ebola in Lagos, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest city with more than 20 million people, has created further panic over the worst ever outbreak of the deadly tropical disease.

The densely-packed city has a weak public health system which experts say is poorly equipped to manage a significant number of Ebola patients.

Lagos state health commissioner Jide Idris late Wednesday appealed to striking doctors to resume work, saying: “We all must come together to address this situation.”

The patient who brought the virus to Lagos on July 20, Liberian finance ministry employee Patrick Sawyer, was placed under quarantine at a private hospital.

But even the basic registration fee at a private facility can cost roughly $200, a sum which only a tiny minority of Lagosians can afford.

If Lagos sees more Ebola cases, public hospitals will need to be operational if Nigeria hopes to contain a spread of the virus, officials say.

Since the start of the year, Ebola has killed nearly 1,000 people and infected more than 1,700, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.